News of the US: Week Two of December 1812

December 8:  From Washington — “Last evening there was a Grand Ball given in honour of the Naval officers, at which all the fashionable world were present.  In the midst of the gaiety, young Hamilton, a midshipman o the frigate United States, and son to the Secretary of the Navy, arrived with the colours of the Macedonian.  . . .After bearing it round the room, they laid it at the feet of Mrs. Madison, who was standing at one end of the Ball-Room in company with Mrs. Gallatin, Mrs. Monroe, and Mrs. Hamilton.”–Connecticut Mirror, December 21, 1812

December 8:  Editorial opinion –“While our vainglorious Generals Van Bladders are bespattering and splashing the national character with mud, we rejoice that HULL, DECATUR and JONES will cleanse and purify it from its foul stains while there is water enough in the ocean.”–Salem Gazette, December 8, 1812

December 8:  “Gen. A. Smyth, has published a letter of his, dated Head Quarters, Williamsville, Dec. 8, in which he says, ‘that 5 captains, 4 lieuts. 11 ensigns, 83 sergeants, 89 corporals, 25 musicians, and 930 privates, of the volunteer corps, have revolted and deserted.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, February 12, 1813

December 9:  Speech of Governor Return J. Meigs on the opening of the Ohio Legislature:  “The times require energy–industry–and frugality–and as none can better appreciate–so none can more usefully exemplify those qualities than the select representatives of a free people.  That your Legislative proceedings may be honorable to yourselves an beneficial to your constituents is my sincerest desire.”–Scioto Supporter, December 12, 1812

December 9:  From Laguira, South America — “By the latest accounts from Laguira, it appears that on the 9th of Dec. last, Alex. Scott, Esq. who presented a donation of provisions to the distressed inhabitants of Caraccas, from our government in June, 1812, has been ordered away from thence by the despotic Spanish monarchists, who have recently conquered the Patriots of that province, together with all other Americans.–New York Herald, February 6, 1813

December 9:  From London, from the Admiralty Office to Admiral the Hon. Sir John B. Warren — “Sir, The Lords of the Council having signified their opinion for my Lords the Commissioners of the Admiralty, that vessels claiming protection from Licences issued by Mr. Allen, his majesty’s Vice-Consul at Boston, or by the Spanish Minister in America, ought not to be exempted from British capture, and that such papers should not be respected by his majesty’s cruisers . . . .”–American Daily Advertiser, February 25, 1813

December 10:  From Washington — “A resolution was introduced by Mr. Harper, instructing the military committee to enquire into the expediency of adopting an elementary treatise for the discipline of the army and militia of the U. States.  Adopted.”—New York Herald, December 16, 1812

December 11:  From New York — “The privateer Saratoga, of this port, has captured an English Letter of Marque brig of 10 guns, after a severe action, during which all the officers of the English vessel were killed.  The prize has a valuable cargo of dry goods, and was bound from England to Laguira–Off the latter place the engagement was fought.”–Richmond Enquirer,January 30, 1813

December 11:  “The Secretary at War has issued a General Order, forbidding officers and soldiers of the army corresponding with their friends and others, on subjects relative to their duties, and the public service.  We hope this order will put a stoop to much of the ridiculous stuff which passes for the productions of the army.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, December 11, 1812

December 11:  “Notice Is hereby given, that my wife Mary Taylor has left my bed and board without any just cause or pretext; this is therefore to forewarn all persons from trusting or crediting her on my account, as I am resolved to pay no debts of her contracting subsequent to this date.  John Taylor.” — Scioto Gazette, January 23, 1813

December 12:  From Vermont — “A letter from Mr. Dunham, Editor of the Washingtonian, dated Windsor, Dec. 12, says, ‘The Peace Ticket has prevailed in Vermont.  We have already a neat gain (since September) of between 3 and 4,000 votes.’  . . . Thus there is a certainty of Vermont’s reunion with her New-England sisters.”–Salem Gazette, December 18, 1812

December 12:  “We congratulate our countrymen upon the new Laurel that is added to our wreath.  Decatur has Hull’d the British frigate Macedonian, in 17 minutes close fight, and brought her safely into the port of New London.”–Richmond Enquirer, December 12, 1812

December 12:  From New York — “British prisoners, it appears, require more force, in many instances, to compel them to go to Halifax, than was necessary to get them into our possession.  Frequent and desperate attempts have been made on cartels, one from this place and another from Boston, to prevent going back to the British government.–And of the prisoners lately carried into New-London from the Macedonian, we hear that a great part have made their escape.”–Boston Patriot, December 19, 1812

December 13:  From Buffalo — “A meeting took place between Gen.. Smyth and Gen. Porter yesterday afternoon on Grand Island, in pursuance of previous arrangements.  They met at Dayton’s tavern and crossed the river with their friends and surgeons–both gentlemen behaved with the utmost coolness and unconcern–a shot was exchanged in an intrepid and firm manner as possible, by each gentleman and without effect.  It was then represented by Gen. Smyth’s second, that Gen. Porter must now be convinced that the charge of cowardice against Gen. Smyth was unfounded, and should, in honor, be retracted; which, after mutual explanations, as to the matters which had given rise to the charge, was accordingly done by him.”–New York Spectator, December 30, 1812

December 13:  From the Rapids of the Miami — “General Tupper, having been apprised of the position of the enemy, ordered a small detachment to advance, to commence the attack; then to retreat, keeping up a running fire.  This induced the enemy incautiously to pursue, until completely surrounded by General Tupper’s principal force. . . .  Tecumseh, the noted Indian Chief, and British Brigadier General of His Britannic Majesty’s allies, was taken prisoner, and is now in the town of Franklintown.”–National Advocate, January 21, 1813

December 14:  From the Senate — “A bill to increase the navy of the United States was read a third time, and the question, Shall this bill pass? was carried in the affirmative–yeas, 28, nays 2. . . . [This bill provides for the immediate building of FOUR ships of 74 guns, and SIX frigates of 44 guns each.  . . .  The 74s are each to carry a school-master, whose pay is 25 dollars per month, and two rations.]”–Massachusetts Spy, December 30, 1812

December 14:  “On the 14th of December, the British ship Rio-Nova, of 400 tons burden, mounting 18 guns, and having a crew of 25 men, was captured, off Madeira, by the Baltimore Privateer Rolla, Capt. Dooly, mounting only one gun.  The action lasted 20 minutes, and none, it is said, were even wounded on either side.”–New York Spectator, January 30, 1813

December 14:  Washington City, to Lt. Col. James Miller — “I am instructed by the secretary of war to convey to you, and through you, to the officers and soldiers of the 4th regiment of infantry, who are prisoners of war, the high sense which the president entertains of the gallantry & good conduct, by which you and they have been distinguished.  . . . Th. Cushing, Adj. Gen.”–Richmond Enquirer, January 16, 1813

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About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden